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Multiple Agents for Multiple Genres?
One very commonly asked question of literary agents, a question that has a complicated answer, is “Do I need more than one agent if I write more than one genre?” This isn’t an easy subject to address but we’ll have a go. Many writers are already focused on what they intend to write but others have several ideas for books that are in different genres. Occasionally, the genres are close to one another but, more often than not, they will be worlds apart, even down to switching from nonfiction to fiction, or vice versa.
There are three scenarios here if you have an agent and you want to write something completely different to what you normally produce:
One Agent for Everything – if you already know that you want to write in multiple areas, try to find an agent that will represent every area – this makes life much easier for you.
One Agent Who Exceptionally Agrees to Represent Multiple Genres – Your agent may represent just one area but will make the exception to handle whatever you write, just to keep it all under one roof.
Your Agent Will Give You Best Wishes For Finding Another Agent – if your agent doesn’t cover the additional areas you want to write and won't do it, you need to find a second agent. This is where things start to get a little bit complicated but it may be a necessary evil if you are to move forward with your career.
Know the Downsides
The downside to this is in what you are doing. If you write across several different genres, you are spreading yourself very thin. Your brand becomes diluted and you will find that you have to start building it up all over again. Plus, many genres means many platforms and that equates to less time for each one. You either wear yourself out trying to write books regularly for each one or you have to cut down on how often you release a new book. That won't sit well with your readers.
Tell Your Agent The Truth
Always tell your agent what you are intending. That way, they can tell you up front whether they represent those areas or not and whether you should start looking for a second agent. If your agent doesn’t agree with you writing in multiple genres, this would be the time for them to tell you. Some agents will not represent writers who have other agents already, preferring to be the sole agent, while others may show concern that you are not coming up with enough work for them to sell and may suggest a parting of the ways. Most will be fine with whatever you opt to do, so long as there is no negative impact on them.
For a new writer, it is probably best not to bite off more than you can chew and stick to just one genre until you get yourself established as a writer. When you think you want to branch out, approach your agent and have a chat with them, see what they think, and consider their advice carefully.
Written by Readers’ Favorite Reviewer Anne-Marie Reynolds